Russian President Vladimir Putin said musician Elton John is "an extraordinary person" as he defended his country's stance on homosexuality ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, during an interview with BBC1's Andrew Marr Show.
Mr Putin said: "Read our law carefully - and pay attention to its name. It's called a 'ban on the propaganda of paedophilia and homosexuality'. There are countries, including in Europe, where they're debating the possibility of legalising paedophilia. Publicly discussing this, in parliament.
"They can do what they want, but the people of Russia have their own cultural code, their own traditions.
"It seems to me that the law we adopted doesn't harm anybody. What's more, homosexual people can't feel inferior here, because there is no professional, career or social discrimination against them.
"When they achieve great success, for example Elton John - he's an extraordinary person, a distinguished musician, and millions of our people sincerely love him, regardless of his sexual orientation."
More top news
People living near a string of gangland shootings are being urged to turn in the gunmen, as police chiefs warned: "Enough is enough."
The RFU's inquiry into what went wrong for England at the Rugby World Cup could be long and painful.
Nina Nannar has an unforgettable encounter with the man who has run the Chanel couture house for more than 30 years.